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TripAdvisor survey reveals economic optimism rising among UK accommodation owners

UK hoteliers are among the most profitable in Europe

TripAdvisor announced the results of the latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, the world’s largest hotel survey. With more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the globe, and over 5.000 from the U.S. alone, the survey has revealed some startling findings about today’s top hospitality industry trends. Among the key findings: U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for travelers ahead of…

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TripAdvisor announced the results of the latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, the world’s largest hotel survey. With more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the globe, and over 5.000 from the U.S. alone, the survey has revealed some startling findings about today’s top hospitality industry trends. Among the key findings: U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for travelers ahead of the Fall travel season, as nearly half (47%) expect rates to go up higher this year compared to the same time last year, while only 16% expect comparatively lower rates.

TripAdvisor’s biannual hotel survey has also uncovered a number of other industry insights, including accommodations’ business outlook, how they are engaging with travelers on social and mobile platforms and their plans to offer eco-friendly programs.

Bright Business Outlook for U.S. Hotels
The U.S. ranks fourth in the world for hotels with the best business outlook, while Greece ranks last, according to respondents’ answers to a number of questions gauging the perceived health of their business.

Most Positive Outlook:
1. Indonesia
2. Brazil
3. Russia
4. United States
5. India

Most Negative Outlook:
18. New Zealand
19. France
20. Spain
21. Italy
22. Greece

Larger Properties Most Profitable and Optimistic
30% of U.S. accommodations reported to have been extremely or very profitable within the last six months, up from 27% when TripAdvisor conducted its last Industry Index survey in Dec. 2011. By comparison, 24% of accommodations in the Caribbean and 21% in Canada indicate they have been profitable in the last six months.

Across North America, larger properties (with over 50 rooms) reported to be more profitable than smaller properties (with 50 or fewer rooms). In the U.S., 34% of larger properties indicated that they had been extremely or very profitable, compared to 24% of smaller properties.

In the U.S., accommodation owners’ economic outlook has diminished slightly, as 62% now expect the economy to improve, down from 65% in Dec. 2011. Economic outlook, however, appears to vary by property size: 67% of larger properties and 57% of smaller properties expect economic conditions to improve a little or a lot in the next six months.

Mexico and Caribbean, Not U.S., Best Place for Hotel Jobs in North America

According to the survey, a greater percentage of Mexican (21%) and Caribbean (20%) hoteliers plan to increase the size of their staffs than their counterparts in the U.S. (15%). In the U.S. plans to hire have dropped down from 27%, according to TripAdvisor’s Dec. 2011 survey.

Outside of North America, hoteliers in India (39%) and Brazil (34%) are reportedly the most likely to increase the size of their staffs, while hoteliers in France (6%) and the UK (8%) are least likely to add new employees.

Room Rate Rankings: Who’s Increasing/Decreasing Rates ahead of Fall

(Note: Rate trends compared to same time last year)

Top 5 for Lower Rates:
1. Greece – 58%
2. Spain – 43%
3. Italy – 37%
4. Australia – 32%
5. New Zealand – 29%

Top 5 for Higher Rates:
1. U.S. – 47%
2. Brazil – 42%
3. Russia – 42%
4. Indonesia – 37%
5. Turkey – 35%

Special Offers and Deals: How U.S. Accommodations Win Guests
(Note: Special Offers used most often to attract guests)

Top 5 Special Offers:
1. Discounts of rooms – 58%
2. Special amenities (e.g., free WiFi) – 44%
3. Free parking – 31%
4. Rewards points – 30%
5. Free newspapers – 20%

Twelve percent of U.S. accommodations do not offer any special offers.

What’s with Free WiFi?
93% of U.S. respondents report offering free in-room WiFi Internet access
17% of the respondents who do not currently offer free WiFi, plan to do so in the next six months

Social Media Rankings Show U.S. Falling Behind
(Note: Rankings based on respondents claiming to use social media to engage with travelers)

Ranked #13 in the world for usage of social media to attract travelers, the U.S. (69%) trails behind Malaysia (89%), Indonesia (84%) and Mexico (83%) who all topped the charts.

In the U.S., 70% of hotels and 69% of B&Bs reported using social media to engage with current or potential guests. Overall, across property types and sizes, respondents cited industry research/reports (57%) and staying current with the competition (30%) as the top reasons why they are using social media, while posting deals (64%) and responding to guest feedback (58%) were the most common responses for how they are using these sites.

Thirty percent of respondents monitor mentions of their property once a day with 56% reporting that internal staffs manage monitoring responsibility. In both cases, these were the most common responses.

In U.S., Hotels Outpace B&Bs in Mobile Marketing

In U.S., Hotels Outpace B&Bs in Mobile Marketing    
  HOTELS B&BS
Ability to book via my property’s website on a mobile device is “very important” 75% 51%
Making special offers available to mobile device users is “very important” 48% 16%
Offers a function to engage with guests via mobile devices 43% 16%

Eco-Friendly Programs: ‘Win-Win’ for Hotel Budgets and Environment
(Note: Rankings based on respondents claiming to offer eco-friendly practices)

Ranking #7 in the world for eco-friendly practices, U.S. hoteliers (81%) are staying ahead of their counterparts in Mexico (75%), but trailing behind Canada (91%).

The most common eco-friendly programs are towel/linen reuse (82%) and energy efficient light bulbs (78%).

When asked why they offer eco-friendly programs, respondents cited cost reduction (66%) and industry trend (51%) as their top rationales.

“The TripAdvisor Industry Index underscores the current economic climate, as hoteliers in North America, Asia-Pacific and Latin America are all approximately twice as likely to report being profitable in the last six months that hoteliers in the EMEA region,” said Christine Petersen, president, TripAdvisor for Business. “What’s encouraging is the traction accommodations are making in the areas of online, social and mobile marketing. While currently only a quarter of respondents offer programs to engage with mobile device users, we expect this number to grow, especially since a separate TripAdvisor survey confirmed that 44 percent of travelers plan on using their mobile phone or smartphone more as a travel resource during trips this year.”

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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